Ars longa, vita brevis. In fact, I'd like to steal this painting. By appointment only.

_panorama of isolation / in brief with the cherkashin's_ renay elle morris

Keeping tabs on Moscow-based fine artists, Natasha and Valera Cherkashin, via WhatsApp, I wanted an update, as it is hard to secure time with the traveling photo/performing artist duo. Apparently, they were now securely ensconced somewhere in and around the Black Sea, which under summer skies welcomes flocks of vacationers when sweat and cocktails mix in high thermal readings. I knew this was no vacation_ it was a refuge. This particular time it was much longer and more serious, no doubt, as Moscow was reeling into winter with rising numbers of the relentlessness of Covid. It was their lockdown.


Isolation and inspiration ensued. From 2020 to 2021, with a fierce determination to keep their flow of creativity apparent under Covid skies, the Cherkashin’s poetic natures followed the hypnotic and rhythmic patterns of the sea. The greyness gushing and ranting, again and again,_ sending crashing waves; shrouding the pebbled terrain while eerie winds signaled pernicious challenges. Ebb and flow_ and parallel ideas with salty tastes thrown back and forth between the two propelled their imagination. The Cherkashin’s delighted in the fury of artistic gymnastics welcoming the unconditional tides; the chaotic character and temperament of the sea. Angry and melodramatic, oftentimes reaching for the quiet. The serene. Patterns merged with ideas and shapes. No complexity. Imagery with colors and non-colors, subtle and bright colors, dark colors, tones, hues defined “Isolation.” Cameras, paint, pastels? Supply after supply of shapes, ideas, conversations. New starts and ends. It works. no, it doesn’t, until it does.

 
So, what have we here? 

 

Natasha & Valera at work


REM_ I note that this is a unique and quite different signature (idea) from the montages you both have previously created_including the acclaimed "Metro Series." This departure is an unadorned direction. Are you going to continue with this orientation, or will you also continue to create images in the mode for which you have been awarded and applauded, which I call “The Cherkashin Style?” 

 

N/V_ This is a new period for us. As you know, rather than lockdown in the city during these uncertain times, we decided that it was better if we went away from the social problems and ideas and moved more to metaphysical questions, those relating to nature. Though sometimes, if needed for a specific show, we will return to our digital montages. When we create, the mediums we use and the subjects will always vary. We are not limited to any particular style and if the idea works in a prior approach, then we work with that. There are no limitations.


_The Light of the Future


_ The Earthly Essence
                                                      
















REM_ Please continue.

 N/V_ As we escaped from isolation and could enjoy freedom not available to us in a crowded city, we embraced all the natural beauty surrounding us. We could breathe in all the marvelous views of the sea, the sun, and the sky. These views were changing every day and even every hour. And we followed the rhythms of the day. So, I think the images may reflect a positive outlook_ simpler in design and more radiant in color. Much different than the chaotic nature of a big city, thus they are a reflection of our feelings spent in solitude. It was a very new experience for us, and our creative souls were nourished here, by the sea.

_The Movement of the Past

REM_ What different parts did each of you engage in?

 

N/V_ We both work on each of our artwork. Each time it is a different way. But in this case, Natasha started the works and Valera continued and finished. Why? Because she wakes up earlier.

 

REM_ What mediums are used? Photographic? Paint? 

 

N/V_ We used oil pastels.

 

REM_ How many in the series?

 

N/V_ Eight sunrises and eight faces.



_The Cold Sun


_Face 2

_Face 3

REM_ The sunrises are bright and the faces are softer. What does this transformation suggest? 


N/V_ Sunrises are perhaps a physical reality and the faces are more like a spiritual awakening_ so our imagination as sun = power and the result is angelic. It is otherworldly in concept. We feel it is a supernatural or an alienlike idea, yet a positive direction for the universe.


REM_ And, not to forget, your new book. Is it ready for publication? Future plans? 

 

N/V_ First of all, we are ready to publish Volume Five, “Mirages of Empires” which is a selection of images that covers a big period, from 1994 – 2000, to be published early in the first quarter of 2022. This volume includes Russia, Germany, Spain, and the United States. After this, our plan is for a book on our digital works, which will include subways, monuments, etc. It is all very exciting and extensively involved. 

 

REM_ Thank you so much. I always enjoy speaking with the two of you. And I hope we can see each other in a not-too-distant future.

 

N/V_ Our pleasure and, thank you!

 



Natasha & Valera

Cherkashin

Conceptual Cherkashin Metropolitan Museum

+7 926 530 7471

www.metro33.com


Images shown are from a series_beginning in 2020 and completed in 2021.